“Jesus, I’m ready to go home. I’m ready to go.”Those were the thoughts running through Casadi Schroeder’s mind as she believed her death was imminent as a bear, with its jaw around her leg, began to rip the flesh off her bones.
Moments earlier, Schroeder was relaxing with family at their campsite on Jeanette Lake.
That serene picture suddenly turned to a fight for Schroeder’s life.
“It was probably the most excruciating pain,” Schroeder said of the damage done by the bear’s teeth and claws. “I’m a mother and it beats the heck out of childbirth.”
“I thought if he went for my throat… that would be it.”
Schroeder,33, and her family were camping in Meadow Lake provincial park so she and her husband could share their missionary experience with people at Bethel Gospel Camp June 9 and 10.
On June 10, the couple was woken up by their eight-year-old son saying there was a bear outside the cabin, the second time he had spotted a bear during their stay.
“The bear had been outside of our cabin and climbed up the side of our cabin and swiped away our screen,” Schroeder said.
She quickly closed the window before it could get in, but there were tents only metres away.
With no cell service available, Schroeder left the cabin to warn her neighbours, all while keeping a distance from the bear.
As the bear got to the camp kitchen window — where an infant and disabled person were staying — it suddenly turned its attention to Schroeder.
“I thought he was after food. I actually wasn’t afraid at this point,” she said. “He bolted. It felt like I blinked and he was right in front of me.”
Schoeder screamed as the bear took hold of her.
“He would just bite in and rip, bite in and rip,” she said.
As Schroeder was thrown by the bear, she couldn’t help but wonder which blow would be her last.
“(The bear) was just so strong,” she said. “I just didn’t expect how strong he was going to be. I just felt really helpless.”
The moment of helplessness passed when her husband came to her rescue by kicking and punching the bear off of her.
The couple managed to run to a nearby cabin and bang on the door until someone let them in.
More than a week after the horrific incident, Schroeder got the last of her 34 staples removed from her leg.
The attacking bear has since been killed by park officials.
With a pile of bruises and scars to tell the story, Schroeder is thankful that her brush with death wasn’t any closer.
“I feel grateful to be alive, grateful to be walking.”